sun 18/08/2019

CD: Ruby Rushton - Ironside | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Ruby Rushton - Ironside

CD: Ruby Rushton - Ironside

Crisp, tough, and sometimes devastating jazz from London's young generation

High-impact, no-nonsense virtuosity

It's kind of vertiginous to realise that the revivalism of acid jazz was way closer to its 1960s and '70s source material than we are to it now. But the patterns that were laid down by the DJ sessions of Gilles Peterson and people like him back in the 1980s abide. Jazz fusion, spiritual jazz, hard bop, obscure soundtracks, Blue Note records: all have continued to demonstrate their immediacy on dancefloors. And recently, a generation of prolific and prodigious musicians have come to prominence whose interest in jazz is not as some musty, dusty memory of the past, but as part of London's club culture. 

One of the chief musicians among these is Ed “Tenderlonious” Cawthorne. He's the prime mover behind the South London 22a collective, which deliver complex midtempo electronic grooves with serious soundsystem oomph – but he's also a remarkable wind player and bandleader too. Ruby Rushton is the name of his band, and here as on his previous three albums, they deliver high-impact, no-nonsense virtuosity, aimed at moving bodies as much as anything else.

You can hear Yusuf Lateef and Weather Report, Bitches Brew and Herbie Hancock, as well as hints of John Barry and Henry Mancini, all with the crispest, most modernist, most soundsystem-friendly production. You can hear playing as tough and regimented as you might expect from the former grime producer son of a Ghurka. When the band are going full throttle, this can get quite demanding unless you're feeling as energised as they clearly are, but the more space they give each other the better the record gets. And when Cawthorne goes solo on flute for the visceral howl of anger and sorrow of “Prayer for Grenfell” there's no question that this is not in any sense a revival – let alone a revival of a revival – but music from the head and heart of 21st-century individuals for whom jazz is a true folk culture.

You can hear playing as tough and regimented as you might expect from the former grime producer son of a Ghurka


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters